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UBS wage survey: 2006 wage round promises satisfactory salary increases

Zurich Media Releases Switzerland

Average nominal salary increase of 1.6% expected

According to the latest UBS wage survey, nominal wages are to increase by 1.6% in 2006 following this year's wage round, which was based on an average inflation rate of 1.1% to compensate for past inflation. Since UBS expects 0.6% inflation in 2006, this ought to result in an effective increase in real wages of 1.0%. These are the main results of the 17th UBS wage survey, which is carried out annually among enterprises in 19 sectors.

In this year's wage round for 2006, the construction sector heads the sector rankings with an average salary increase of 2.5%. This is due to the good performance of the construction industry plus a certain need to catch up following below-average wage settlements in the years 2003 and 2004. According to the survey, above-average wage settlements also resulted in the following sectors: IT (+2.2%), pharmaceuticals and chemicals (+2.1%), and watches, energy and telecommunications (each +2.0%). Like last year, wage growth was below the national average in the print and graphic design and automotive industries (each +1.0%), as well as the hotel/restaurant and transportation industries (each +1.2). In contrast to previous years, settlements of 1% and higher were reached in all sectors. These figures are based on basic salaries and do not include performance-related, non-guaranteed salary components (bonus payments).

The adoption of bonus systems continues to increase, as 85% (previous year: 76%) of the enterprises surveyed this year answered that they had performance-related (variable) salary components. Slightly higher bonus payments will be seen mainly among enterprises in the service sector, whereas in the industrial sector, the significant increase of the previous year ought to be maintained on average.

A majority of survey participants were optimistic with regard to future economic development. Around two thirds of the enterprises expect the moderate economic upturn to hold up in 2006.

However, despite the continued positive economic outlook enterprises remain cautious with regard to personnel planning: Merely 18% plan to increase headcount, whereas about half do not envision any substantial change.

These figures derive from the annual UBS wage survey, which was carried out between 3 and 24 October 2005. It covers enterprises as well as employer and employee associations in 19 sectors. Between 1989 and 2004, wage increases estimated by the survey deviated by just 0.32% on average from the official salary figures published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO).

Dr. Klaus W. Wellershoff, Chief economist UBS Global WM&BB Tel: +41 44 234 67 03

Daniel Kalt, Head of Swiss Economic Research
Tel. +41 44 234 25 60

Nominal wage increases in selected Swiss sectors (in %)


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